12:00 AM, November 22, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 22, 2012

Editorial

De-congest Dhaka city

High time to act

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Dhaka city's status as the most unliveable city in the world is in part reflected by the steady migration of people into the capital every day. It is the fastest growing city in South Asia, at a pace of almost 4% annually, with 15 lakh new residents in the last 10 years, totalling the population at 1.5 crore. Thousands of people flock to the city every day in search of better education, better employment, better lives. The result, naturally, is an overcrowded city, characterised by heavy traffic congestion, pollution, environmental degradation and shortage of basic resources and facilities such as electricity, water and gas. For, despite its rapid growth, the city is not under any urban development strategy, resulting in unplanned and chaotic growth.
One way to tackle the problem as suggested by experts is the decentralisation of business facilities and dispersal of opportunities. This is true of all basic and necessary facilities, however, including health and education. The establishment of quality primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions as well as medical facilities in other major cities and towns would prevent thousands of people migrating to the capital in search of better facilities.
The setting up of business opportunities away from the capital, too, would be a natural incentive for people to remain in their home towns or in nearby areas to make a living. This should go hand in hand with realisation of the several city plans that have been designed by experts over time, which includes mass transit system, seen as a solution to the capital's infamous traffic system.
Urbanisation comes with economic growth, but without the system and facilities to meet the needs of the fast-growing urban population -- a projected 10 crore by 2030 -- we will be continuing to grow in the restricted, capital-centric manner in which we are now, inhabiting one of the most unliveable cities in the world.
Traditionally, an overall plan for urbanisation has not received the focus it should have. It is high time to prioritise planned urban growth.

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